"Thirteenth Spiritual Instruction" by Swami Chidananda

Vow of Silence (Mouna)

Observe Mouna (vow of silence) for a couple of hours daily.

Gurudev meant absolute not making hoo-hoo or pointing or other gestures. Silence means it should be absolute silence (kashta mouna). One should be withdrawn at least two hours dally. Someone wrote and asked: “I am observing mouna during my sleep. Is this also to be counted as mouna?” Swamiji said “No! It is daily, not nightly.” Observe absolute silence a couple of hours daily. That is control of vak indriya (organ of speech). Two hours is the absolute minimum. Greater still is the need of mental silence—inner silence.
Gurudev says in His book Mind—its Mysteries and Control that miscellaneous talking is a very bad habit. It distracts the mind. It keeps the mind always bahirmukha (outgoing) and makes a man unspiritual. A vow of silence must be practised once a week. Much energy is wasted in talking.
Do not allow anything to come out from the mind through the vak-indriya (organ of speech). Observe mouna (a vow of silence). This will help you. Considerable peace follows mouna. The speech energy becomes transmuted into spiritual energy (ojas). Sankalpas become much decreased. Will becomes stronger. Now you have shut out a big source of disturbance. You will rest now in peace. Meditate on God or Brahman now in right earnest.

Be careful in the selection of your words before you speak. Think thrice before you speak. Consider what effect the words will produce on the feelings of others. Observe mouna for a couple of years. It is tapas of speech.

Do not argue unnecessarily. Argument brings about hostility, heated feelings and wastage of energy. Every man has got his own views, his own opinion, ideas, sentiments, beliefs and convictions. It is very difficult to change the views of others. Do not try to convince others. When you are an aspirant, when you are gathering facts and knowledge from the study of sacred lore, do not argue with others till your thoughts have become mature and steady.

An aspirant is asked to give up company and observe mouna, because on account of raga, he will multiply acquaintance; on account of dvesha, he will incur the displeasure of others by uttering some unpleasant words. There is a sword in the tongue. Words are like arrows. They injure the feelings of others. By observing mouna and giving up company, one can control the vak-indriya and remove raga. Then the mind will become calm.

There are fifteen doshas that arise from company. An aspirant should, therefore, preferably remain alone during the period of Sadhana. The doshas of company are:
(1) Misunderstanding, 
(2) Ill-feeling, 
(3) Displeasure, 
(4) raga-dvesha, 
(5) Jealousy, 
(6) Vampirism, 
(7) Attachment, 
(8) Mental sharing of pain of another man, 
(9) Criticism of others, 
(10) anatma topics, 
(11) Habit of talking, 
(12) bahirmukha vritti, 
(13) Idea and samskara of duality, 
(14) Slavish mentality and weak will, and 
(15) Contempt. 

 Love little, but love long.

When you take a vow of silence, never assert from within very often, “I won’t talk”. This will produce a little heat in the brain, because the mind wants to revenge on you. Simply once make a determination and then remain quiet. Attend to other affairs. Do not be thinking always, “I won’t talk, I won’t talk”.

In the beginning, when you observe mouna, you will find some difficulty. There will be a severe attack of vrittis. Various kinds of thoughts will arise and force you to break the silence. These are all vain imaginations and deceptions of the mind. Be bold. Concentrate all energies on God. Make the mind fully occupied. The desire for talk and company will die. You will get peace. The vak-indriya (organ of speech) considerably distracts the mind.

Mouna of the mind is far superior to mouna of vak (speech). Mouna should come of itself. It must be natural. Forced mouna is only wrestling with the mind. It is an effort. If you live in Truth, mouna will come of itself. Then only will there be absolute peace.
Go Into Silence
Silence is Peace.
Silence is Brahman or the Absolute.
Ayam Atma Santah.
This Atman is Silence.
Behind all noises and sounds
is Silence thy innermost Soul.
Silence is thy real Name.
Silence strengthens thought-power.
Silence is intuitive experience.
Silence helps the intuitional Self
To express itself.
To go into Silence is to become God.
Enter into Silence
And become one with the Supreme Soul. 
 —Swami Sivananda
[TWENTY IMPORTANT SPIRITUAL INSTRUCTIONS, A Series of talks on Swami Sivananda’s Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions.]

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